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Couture Techniques for a Better Fitting Waistband

Photo: Sloan Howard

Covered snaps
In the couture tradition of covering up as much metal as possible, snaps are usually covered with a small piece of lining fabric.

Cut a circle of lining fabric larger than the snap. With an awl, make a small hole in the fabric, and force the snap's ball through it. For easier handling while covering the snap, stitch around the fabric circle's outer edges with a long running stitch and gather it lightly, making a pouch. Then, stitch around the snap's back side-through the fabric only-using small backstitches to tighten the fabric. Next, sew several stitches across the back, sewing only through the fabric. Trim off the tuft of fabric, and flatten the remaining edges with your fingernail. Cover the socket section the same way, but it's not necessary to pierce the fabric first. Snapping the two halves together will create an indentation in the socket's fabric covering. The socket section is a little more slippery than the ball section, and it's easy for it to flip over as you work, so take care as you're sewing. One way to prevent this is to snap the covered-ball section into the socket section while you sew the socket's covering in place. Sew the snap sections to the garment with a doubled thread that is waxed and pressed.

Cover metal snaps with a piece of lining fabric. Sew a pouch of lining fabric around a snap section, tightening it with stitches.

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Comments (9)

stsimon stsimon writes: Petersham is a type of grosgrain with a flexible edge, so it works well for waistbands or wherever you need to apply it in a curve. Delightful stuff! Often store clerks don't know the difference, so look carefully at the edge: regular grosgrain has a perfectly straight edge, whereas Petersham has a more wavy or scalloped-looking edge. If you google "Petersham", you'll get some images you can look at.
Posted: 10:43 pm on December 31st

AWriterInFact AWriterInFact writes: Lovely article, which includes some tips and information new to me.

I've been sewing for about 50 years or so, though, and I've never heard of a "locking stitch". Is that something like a buttonhole stitch? Or a blanket stitch? Is this something I've been doing automatically without knowing it had a name? And what in the wide world is a "petersham"?

"petersham |ˈpētərˌ sh am; - sh əm|
1 historical a kind of heavy overcoat with a short shoulder cape.
• the thick woolen fabric used to make such coats.
2 a corded tape used for stiffening, esp. in the making of belts and hatbands.
ORIGIN early 19th cent.: named after Lord Petersham (1790–1851), English army officer."
- from Apple's Dictionary application

Posted: 9:04 am on January 15th

Sewer2012 Sewer2012 writes: Thanks for the detailed instructions and photos. You wouldn't think there was so much involved, but there obviously is.
Posted: 1:14 pm on January 10th

Sewer2012 Sewer2012 writes: Thanks for the detailed instructions and photos. You wouldn't think there was so much involved, but there obviously is.
Posted: 1:14 pm on January 10th

Sewista Sewista writes: That dominant hand info is brilliant. It is so good to have the couture effect on such small details as findings, something not usually addressed in sewing manuals. Thanks, Susan, and a Happy and Productive New Year to you and all of the Threads staff.
Posted: 8:54 am on December 30th

triangles triangles writes: Thanks so much for including covering a snap with a bit of lining! Sew Simple!!!!! Linda S
Posted: 11:17 am on December 27th

jansquires jansquires writes: I appreciate all of the amazing tips from Susan. She is an awesome and talented lady and always so willing to teach.
THANK YOU and Happy New Year to all of Threads staff and contributors.

Posted: 8:15 pm on December 26th

Meels1 Meels1 writes: I really like the reference to the 'dominant hand' to correctly place hooks and eyes - now I won't forget which goes on which side!
Posted: 6:05 pm on December 26th

LuvThreadsMagazine LuvThreadsMagazine writes: All the details revealed!!!

Thank you Susan, for this, and all of your contributions to Threads Magazine.

Wishing everyone at Threads, and my fellow readers, an exponentially happy 2013!

Posted: 5:35 pm on December 26th

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